• 15 JUN 05
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    Israeli expert committee on powerlines

    Following is a report from Israel on yet another self styled WHO clone “expert committee” making all the usual noises about powerline magnetic fields.

    * Note where ICNIRP apparently admits that their guidelines are only for acute short term exposures.

    * There’s the old WHO/ICNIRP claim that the epidemiological studies and/or, labratory tests are defined as”inadequate and “less than sufficient”for determining health guidelines.

    * In a rather curious twist of logic the expert group states that Israel will adopt ICNIRP’s 1000mG together with the “precautionary principle”! Curious as ICNIRP’s Carlo Vecchia has called the PP a health hazard (because it worries people!) and as such, must be avoided as other hazards. (Moscow cell phone conference, Sept 2004)

    -And since when has the NRPB followed a PP?

    Of course they are referring to re-definition of the precautionary principle so watered down and bastardized to be meaningless. It’s now just a PR term.

    Its no better at this end of the world however- New Zealand has long since adopted the ICNIRP creed and Australia will soon do so – all in the name of corporate science.

    Don

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    Israeli expert committee on powerlines

    By “Iris Atzmon
    14 Jun 2005

    About a week ago, in a famous Israeli TV program called “Popolitics”, which deals with everything that concerns the public, the issue of power lines was discussed, after the publication of the new study about power lines was reported widely in the newspapers and TV.

    Dr. Eli Stern, the chairman of the Israeli committee on power lines, (in his history he worked with atom energy) said on TV that he and the experts group prepared a report, with serious recommendations, and he repeated it so many times that he didn’t have time to say what the recommendations actually were. He also said that they prepared the report with a close connection to the WHO and had personal conversations with the main person who is responsible for the subject in the WHO.

    So who is in the committee:
    Dr. Stelian Galberg from Env. ministry

    Mr. Gilbelberg, manager of labratory for research and development, the Israeli power company.

    Mr Ronen Hareuveni head of Sorek department for EMR (Sorek- research center for nuclear energy)

    Dr. Alex Vilensky, manager of medical engineering, Rambam hospital, a supporter for antennas on hospitals.

    Mr. Zoharan, head of exact science and physics office.

    Dr. Benzi Kohen, engineer of unit for hazards prevention and environmental licence, the power company. Said in an interview once, that in his work he is near the power lines, and it’s a fact that he’s healthy, as a “proof” that there’s nothing to worry about it… it can be said that he was a very useful PR person for the power company on several occasions.

    Mr Igor Stefansky, manager of power issues in the infrastructure ministry.

    Mrs Shiala Kandel, responsible for public health in Sorek. Is one of the people who helped the WHO to write the WHO’s booklet on – how to deal with public perception on EMF.
    and indeed, the booklet’s signs are left in the Israeli report, when it says that the EMF are classified with Coffee…..(if some of you remember the Microwave News text about the “Coffee manifesto” of the WHO).

    Dr. Yehudit Shaham, head of department of occupational cancer, the national institute of health chairman

    Dr. Eli Stern, env. ministry’s main scientist.

    Points from the report:

    * Studies on leukemia were presented and the reservations about the validity of the studies were discussed.

    * Were taken into account: different recommendations, guidelines of different international professional bodies, cost benefit analysis, experts were invited to speak, who presented wide spectrum of positions in the WHO of the EU. -Dr. Leeka Keifets from the WHO [didn’t she leave the WHO?] Prof Elihu Richter, Prof Yossi Riback (a paidf consultant for the cellular companies.)

    * ICNIRP guidelines are 1000 mG and the ICNIRP finds it important to explain that it’s only for acute short term exposures. About malignancies and childhood leukemia- long term effects, the WHO thinks that because of clear drawbacks, there is no sufficient evidence in the epidemiological studies published till today, for the existence of these effects in humans. Epidemiological studies and/or, labratory tests – brought evidence that is defined “inadequate and “less than sufficient”. (sufficient is defined as information that enables to determine defined health guidelines)

    * magnetic fields from power lines are classified as possible carcinogens. For comparison, at the same risk level are also Coffee, benzene emissions from cars, and styrene.

    * Eli Sterm talked several times with Dr. Michael Repacholi.

    * the report mentions lower levels in Russia (100 mG), Italy (100 mG as attention level in addition to 1000 mG), and Switzerland (30 mG as quality goal and 10 mG to prove standing in maximum effective value).

    * The meaning of the precautionary principle (PP) is that also when there is lack of sufficient proofs for health damage from a certain factor or when the proofs for existence are very weak, there is a need to reduce the “risk” [sic] with non-expensive ways, without waiting for the end of studies that will prove with certainty the existence or non-existence of the health damages from the discussed factor. the NRPB from England supports the precautionary principle in conclusive way, with no mention of quantitive values for the precautionary principle.

    * the occupational exposures are not in the authority of the env. ministry….

    * Israel will adopt the upper limit of the 1000 mG together with the PP.

    * another committee will be established to set the budgets and the way of implementation of the PP, and will consult to the env. and infrastructure ministries.

    *the env. minister and infra structure minister will establish a third committee to follow updates of the WHO in the second half of 2005, this committee can be a sub committee of the above committee.

    * the legal advisers of the env, infrastucture and the power company will set the legal issues of this report, for quick and efficient implementation.

    * People will be informed of high risk areas. If people will stay there, the licence owner will not be responsible, similar to the accepted in the world and in Israel with regard to other risk sources (for example, warnings on cigarettes boxes, drugs etc)

    * About house hold products that are in regular use and emit relatively high magnetic fields: the committee recommends (like it is accepted in the world) not to limit their use, but there are also products with long exposure like electrical sheets and floor heating systems. As in the case of the cellular phones- brochures will detail the radiation level and the risks, and the consumer will be able to include the level of magnetic fields as part of his considerations to buy.

    * the PP recommendations: safety distance of power lines from populated buildings, phases crossing systems, transformers will not be built on walls of populated rooms. Safety distance of external wall from external transformers- 3 meters, electricity boards will not be built on walls of populated rooms.

    For gradual changes in existing installations, a sum of 2 million dollars a year at least in the first years.

    The committee thinks that these steps will bring to reduction of number of people exposed to average levels of magnetic fields from the electricity net. Different countries (USA, Germany, U.K) reached into conclusion that the actual exposed number of people to more than 4 mG is not above 1% of the population and even less than this value.

    * the magnetic fields levels that will be the base for the decisions, will be set by authorised testers that will measure the exposure levels.

    *Interesting reservations to notice:
    Shiala Kandel : recommends to add that according to the WHO, there is not sufficient evidence for causal relationship between magnetic fields and malignant diseases.

    * Dr. Benzy Kohen: the Swiss regulations do set a level of 10 mG but also guide the authorities to exempt the owner of the installation who can prove that all the possible steps (technically and economically) were taken to limit the radiation. There is a need to decide who gives the sum of money, if it’s the power company, then to recognize this expense in the taarif.

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